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Continuous Update Project logoThe AICR/WCRF Continuous Update Project

Ongoing Review of the Evidence

Today, the field of research in food, nutrition and physical activity in the context of cancer prevention is growing faster than ever. That's why we established our Continuous Update Project (CUP), which builds on the 2007 AICR/WCRF report, Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective.

AICR/WCRF's CUP systemtically collects the evidence and updates the research on an ongoing basis. The evidence is added to a central database, the world's largest resource of existing scientific literature on food, nutrition, physical activity and cancer.

Once the database is fully up-to-date for all cancer types, the AICR/WCRF CUP expert panel will evaluate whether any adjustments need to be made to AICR/WCRF's Recommendations for Cancer Prevention.

The process of updating the database on a rolling basis is underway, adding systematic literature reviews of new evidence, cancer site by cancer site.

Endometrial Cancer Update (2013)

Key findings of the CUP report on endometrial cancer include:

  • Excess body fat is one of the strongest factors that increases risk for this cancer.
  • A high-glycemic-load diet (a diet high in sugary foods, sugary drinks and processed foods high in carbohydrates) increases risk
  • Daily moderate physical activity reduces the risk.
  • Drinking coffee – both decaffeinated and caffeinated – reduce the risk.

Experts estimate that being lean and active can prevent 59 percent of endometrial cancer cases that occur in the United States every year. That is roughly 1 out of every five cancers – 29,500 cases – that would not have to happen if women were moderately active for at least 30 minutes a day and maintained a healthy body weight (between 18.5 and 25 BMI).

Pancreatic Cancer Update (2012)

Key findings of the CUP report on pancreatic cancer include:

  • Evidence that excess body fat increases risk for pancreatic cancer has grown stronger, and remains convincing.
  • There is a probable link between greater childhood growth and increased risk for pancreatic cancer.
  • Consumption of coffee neither raises nor lowers risk of pancreatic cancer.

Experts estimate that being lean can prevent 19 percent of pancreatic cancer cases that occur in the United States every year – or roughly 1 out of every 5. That’s equivalent to 23 cases a day, and approximately 8,600 cases every year, that never have to happen, in the U.S. alone.

Notably, the CUP expert panel downgraded their previous judgment of the evidence linking folate to protection against pancreatic cancer from probable to limited evidence-no conclusion. This means current evidence does not show that foods containing folate (leafy greens, beans and peanuts) lower risk for pancreatic cancer.


Colorectal Cancer Update (2011)

Notably, the CUP Expert Panel upgraded their judgment of the evidence linking dietary fiber to protection against colorectal cancer from probable to the convincing. Key findings include:

  • Evidence that physical activity protects against colon cancer is convincing.
  • Evidence that consumption of red meat and processed meat are causes of colorectal cancer is convincing.
  • Evidence that consuming alcoholic drinks is a cause of colorectal cancer is convincing for men. For women, the evidence with respect to colorectal cancer is is slightly less strong (probable).
  • Evidence is convincing that body fatness and abdominal fatness are causes of colorectal cancer.
  • Consumption of garlic, milk, and calcium probably protect against colorectal cancer
  • Experts estimate that following AICR's Recommendations for Cancer Prevention could prevent 50 percent of colorectal cancers in the US each year – that's over 71,000 cases.


Breast Cancer Update (2010)

Key findings of the CUP report on breast cancer include: 

  • The evidence that lactation protects against both pre- and postmenopausal breast cancer at all ages thereafter is convincing.
  • Evidence that body fatness increases risk for postmenopausal breast cancer is convincing.
  • Physical activity probably protects against postmenopausal breast cancer.
  • The evidence that alcoholic drinks are a cause of both pre- and postmenopausal breast cancer at all ages is convincing.
  • Experts estimate that following our Recommendations for Cancer Prevention could prevent 38 percent of breast cancers in the US each year – that's over 88,000 cases.


Next Steps

New data on prostate cancer and ovarian cancer have now been added to the CUP database. New evidence regarding breast cancer survivors is currently being added.

Once the central database has been fully updated with all cancer types, it will be made available to the wider scientific community.

This will allow the vital information it holds to be accessed anywhere in the world, and help researchers target those areas of cancer prevention that demand further investigation.


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